An open suggestion to 99designs: Support HTML5/CSS3 design contests.

I recently launched a landing-page contest on 99designs that was unsuccessful (following 3 very successful experiences with 99designs, mostly for logos).

One thing I realised when looking at the responses to the contest, and re-evaluating my own requirements, is that I don’t actually want someone’s attempt at a landing page in Photoshop, but rather I want a landing page beautifully crafted in HTML5/CSS, and ready for me to use.

This is quite different to the “PS2HTML” service offered along side the contest where an image-based design is translated into HTML. The goal here is not to try and skip that step, and save money on the image-to-html translation, instead it is about designing with HTML/CSS in the first place.  Frameworks such as Bootstrap have shown it is very possible to do html-first designs, and I believe that designing in this way will have a very different outcome on the final result compared to starting from a 2D image.

I suggested this while on the phone to Steven in support. He told me that in the distant past they did have an option for HTML for a bit extra, but what happened is that people tended to expect their entire website to be created even with a shopping cart system! I do understand how that situation would occur. Certainly I’m not suggesting a complete website service here.  He also mentioned that many graphic designers are not very good at HTML – that I think is fine, this new category of contests would surely attract a new category of designers.

There would be some hurdles to overcome, such as to ensure people have the right expectations for such a contest (i.e. it won’t include a shopping cart, or PHP programming!). But I believe that the ability to launch a contest seeking a beautiful HTML5/CSS design would be a great addition to the existing image design contest option.

Failing that, here’s a startup idea for someone: “99designs for HTML” ;-)

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